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Jessie Vargas vs. Anton Novikov
Round 1Kenny Bayless is the referee for this WBA junior welterweight championship bout. Both Vargas and Novikov enter the contest undefeated. Both fighters are eager to get started as they bounce in their respective corners. Novikov storms right out to the center of the ring, but throws nothing once they engage. Vargas backs away paws a few left jabs. Vargas digs a right to the body as he slips under a right hand. Vargas jabs and hooks off of Novikov’s left hand. Novikov just misses a loopy overhand right from his southpaw stance. Left/right to the head by Vargas is blocked. They trade hard shots downstairs. Vargas is using his left jab well. The local kid just misses a counter left hook. Nice left/right through Novikov’s guard. Left hook to the side of the head by Vargas. Novikov lands a decent straight left late. Vargas digs another mean right to the ribs. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 2Vargas rushes right out of his corner and establishes the jab. Hard left to the body from the Russian. Vargas is jabbing over Novikov’s jab and then digs a right to the body. Vargas has a decided speed advantage and is using it. Novikov wants to make it a brawl, but Vargas wants nothing to do with it. Hard left jabs by Vargas again. Novikov counters with a left hand and a right jab. Three-punch combo by Novikov is blocked. Novikov jabs to the face and body. Hard left/straight right by Vargas lands clean on the face. Vargas throws a monstrous overhand right, but it lands on the shoulder. Jab-jab-jab by Vargas to close out the round. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 3Novikov jabs and then lands a straight left to the gut. Vargas throws a left hook, and then follows it with two rights to the face, though each punch is blocked. Novikov counters a Vargas right with a straight left to the chin. Vargas digs a thudding left hook to the body. Nice jab/left hook tot eh body by Novikov. Right hand through the guard by Vargas. Novikov is targeting the body more, maybe in an attempt to slow Vargas down. Vargas eats a double jab and then answers with a right hand/left hook. Vargas is backing away and keeping a perfect distance for his stiff jab. Close round but Vargas gets it. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 4They trade jabs for the first several moments of the stanza. Novikov sticks Vargas with a double jab, snapping his head back. Lead right by Vargas. Another. Novikov ducks under but eats a left uppercut on the inside and then backs away. He charges right back at Vargas and absorbs two hard punches to the body. Novikov returns the favor with body shots of his own. Right hand along the ropes by the Russian. Nice stiff left jab by Vargas. Novikov has Vargas trapped in a corner but can’t capitalize. Vargas escapes out the side and pops him with a few jabs. Hard right to the body by Novikov near the bell. Novikov looks frustrated as he walks back to his corner. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 5Jab/straight left by Novikov. Vargas only jabbing now, keeping his foe at bay. Hard right hand by Vargas, followed by a left. Novikov is momentarily buzzed but he quickly recovers. Vargas back to the jab, and then mixes in a right hand down the pike. Novikov just misses with a powerful straight left. Vargas jabs off the ropes. Vargas jabs and jabs and when Novikov closes the gap, he rattles him with a right uppercut, snapping his head back. Novikov walks right through it and answers with a right cross. Vargas exits out the side and pops him with two more jabs. Novikov stalking Vargas, throwing several punches but Vargas is at a safe distance, avoiding virtually everything. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 6Novikov’s corner is yelling at him in English and Russian between rounds, urging him to throw more. They’re yelling, “You gotta work! You’re better than this dude!” Vargas opens the round with a left jab, a right hand and a left to the body. Novikov fires off a series of hard shots downstairs. Novikov is fired up and more aggressive than he has been, but Vargas is deflecting most of his attacks. Vargas cracks him with another nasty left jab. Novikov goes to the body again but eats a right hand. Novikov fires off a left hand but he walks into another hard left jab. Vargas pops him with a solid right hand. Novikov is able to rattle off a few jabs, but he is tagged by a Vargas right. Hard left hand by Novikov late seems to have rattled Vargas, but the Russian doesn’t seize the opportunity; Vargas escapes the round. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 7Jabs by Vargas open the round but Novikov is able to land a straight left. Vargas is moving and jabbing, but Novikov lands another left on the jaw. Vargas snaps him with a right to the forehead. Novikov just misses a huge left hook by inches. Vargas keeps pestering him with the jab. Novikov unfurls a combo but Vargas parries every punch. Novikov traps Vargas along the ropes and unloads another multi-punch combo, but the local kid avoids most of them. Nice counter right hand by Novikov at the bell. Very close round, possibly the first for Novikov. 10-9 Novikov.
Round 8Novikov is the one jabbing to start the round, but they are range finders with little on them. Novikov lands a right to the body. Novikov misses a right hand, which allows Vargas to land a slick counter left uppercut. During an exchange, Vargas dips low, Novikov pushes his head down and Vargas accidentally nails him in the groin. Novikov is okay after a few seconds and the fight resumes. Jab/slip/jab/slip/jab by Vargas. Novikov is trying to make it a war but he is having difficulty pinning down the slippery American. Novikov eats a right hand while digging a right to the body. Novikov tags his foe with a right hand, but is hit by a right in return. Hard left/right/left to the body by Vargas near the bell. Another close round. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 9Vargas throws a loopy overhand right but it’s easily blocked. Novikov is able to land a nice left hand, but there’s not much power behind it. Jab by Vargas. Another. Novikov is trying to get inside but Vargas’ slight reach advantage and jab prevents it. Stall in the action for Vargas to have a some loose tape repaired. Novikov misses a two-punch combo does touch Vargas with a follow-up left. Vargas, back to the jab, lands a right hand clean on the chin. Jessie digs a left to the body. Three-punch combo to the face by Vargas, his best chain in the round. Novikov might be tiring as he’s clinched after tasting the jab twice in the past 30 seconds. Vargas lands a right to the face and left to the body at the bell while Novikov hits him with a left. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 10There is some confusion at the start of the round because the ringside physician came in and spoke to Bayless before the 10th started. The round begins and Vargas establishes the jab immediately. Left/right by Vargas through the guard. Again. Novikov is backing up more, though it’s short-lived. Jab-jab-jab by Vargas and Novikov can’t seem to avoid it. Novikov throws a three-punch combo but misses with every one. Novikov goes downstairs again, but eats a right hand in return. Novikov’s face is starting to swell up around the eyes and nose. Hard right hand by Vargas near the bell. Novikov answers with a right but is tagged by a left and then a jab as Vargas escapes. 10-9 Vargas.
Round 11They trade meager jabs and soft right hands. Novikov digs a left to the stomach. Vargas lands three moderate jabs. Novikov very busy but Vargas is blocking most of his punches. Hard left/right by Jessie just as he is tagged by a right hand. Hard right hand by Novikov. Novikov is walking him down, trying to sucker Vargas into a slugfest. Vargas smartly jabs and moves. Another hard right hand by Novikov. Novikov is starting to open up more and Vargas clinches. Jessie digs a thudding left to the body. Vargas backing away much more and not throwing as many punches. Novikov is chasing him down but he’s not able to get his power shots off. 10-9 Novikov.
Round 12Novikov likely needs a knockout to win this one. He’s down heavily on points but many of the rounds have been very close. Three jabs by Novikov come after they touch gloves. Novikov is all over him but Vargas parries and defends well. Stiff jab by Vargas. Novikov storms after him but Vargas clinches. Novikov lands a right to the head, but Vargas follows with a left hand. They clinch again. Vargas looks tired and continues to clinch. Novikov’s corner is going ballistic about the clinching, though Bayless isn’t warning him. Vargas lands two shots to the body and then a left up top. Novikov answers with a left hook but eats a strong right hand. Vargas throws a flurry to the body but misses. Novikov is swarming him but he can’t land anything worthwhile. With ten seconds left, Novikov tries to go wild but Vargas clinches. 10-9 Novikov (117-111 Vargas).
The Official ResultJessie Vargas Def. Anton Novikov Decision (Unanimous) [Glenn Trowbridge: 117-111, Dave Moretti: 118-111, Burt Clements: 118-111] 3:00 R12
Sergey Kovalev vs. Blake Caparello
Round 1Referee Sparkle Lee will oversee the action. Kovalev stalks his opponent and early and Caparello moves away. Caparello, a southpaw, fires a left-hand lead twice in a row with no success. Caperello lands a left hand over a Kovalev right. The Russian is measuring his aggression early and seems to slip, but referee Lee rules it a knockdown: Kovalev protests to no avail. Kovalev is warned for a rabbit punch. Kovalev turns up the pressure and moves his opponent to the ropes. 10-8 Caparello.
Round 2Replays show the knockdown was caused by Caparello stepping on the Russian’s foot: It should not have been ruled a knockdown. Kovalev is warming up and he lands a devastating straight right to the body that floors Caparello. He takes an eight count before standing. Kovalev swarms Caparello against the ropes and again he falls from a right hand. Caparello stands and Kovalev walks him into the corner. Kovalev unloads with both hands to the head and body until his foe crumbles to the canvas for the third and final time. Referee Sparkle Lee waves off the match at the 1:47 mark.
The Official ResultSergey Kovalev Def. Blake Caparello TKO (Three Knockdowns) R2 1:47
Brandon Rios vs. Diego Chaves
Round 1Chaves fires a left jab straight through Rios’ guard. Hard left hook to the body by Chaves. Chaves has come to fight; Rios looks flat and stiff. Loopy overhand right by Chaves misses its mark. Rios answers with a right of his own. Hard right uppercut/left hook/left to body by the Argentinean. Rios backs up and slams his foe with a left. The action stalls momentarily as they regroup. Rios misses with a left hook and absorbs a right to the stomach because of it. Hard left uppercut/right to the body by Rios. Chaves throws a wild right hand, misses and then trips over Rios’ feet. Ruled no knockdown. Chaves with throwing murderous bombs, but they keep missing their mark. He is all over Rios, who stays calm and collected in the pocket. 10-9 Chaves.
Round 2Chaves jabs to start the round and then eats one in return. Left/right by Chaves thru Rios’ guard. Chaves just misses with a left uppercut as Rios throws a left hook. Rios is bobbing and weaving while Chaves is launching haymakers from everywhere. Rios digs a left to the body after he trapped Chaves along the ropes. They separate after Chaves cracks him with a left to the forehead. Rios goes downstairs with a left. Chaves launches another lethal left but it misses by a foot. Chaves lands a right to the body and clean left to the jaw but Rios just walks right through it. Rios is slowly moving forward, not throwing too many shots, while Chaves is throwing punches from all angles. Chaves is very active but he’s far from accurate. Hard left hook by Rios at the bell while Chaves lands one of his own. 10-9 Chaves.
Round 3Jab-jab-jab by Chaves but Rios returns to the favor. Chaves throws a left hook but it’s blocked. They go forehead to forehead and plug away. Rios digs three hard shots to the body. They clinch. Chaves fires off three shots to the head but Rios blocks them. Referee Vic Drakulich warns Chaves for clinching and hitting on the break. Chaves isn’t as reckless as he was in the first two rounds as Rios is storming after him. They clinch and maul each other; Rios lands two thudding hooks to the ribs. Nice left jab by Rios who is tagged by a left. Hard left hook by Chaves on the top of the head buckles Rios’ knees. Rios recovers immediately and fires a right hand. Chaves goes to the body. Drakulich takes a point away from Chaves for repeated clinching; the crowd angrily disagrees with a cascade of boos. 10-8 Rios.
Round 4Chaves’ corner is yelling about Rios using his head on the inside between rounds. Hard left/right from Chaves to kick off the round. Left hook by Chaves precedes a left by Rios. Rios lunges in with a left hook that is partially blocked. Chaves digs a right to the body and juts out the side. Rios is tagged by an overhand right as he comes in. He clinches. Chaves nails him with a left and right, but Rios answers with a hard right uppercut. They trade jabs. Chaves just misses with a right/left. They clinch again and again. Rios head butts him, most likely by accident. Beautiful left hook by Chaves but Rios shrugs it off. Chaves punctuates the round with a thudding straight to the body. 10-9 Chaves.
Round 5Three jabs by Chaves are the first punches to land. Rios pins him along the ropes and digs a series of shots to the body until Chaves escapes. Hard left to head/right to body by the Argentinean. Rios hits him with a right and Chaves clinches again. Rios tosses him to the canvas. Drakulich stands him up and takes another point for excessive holding. The crowd is furious because Rios seems to be clinching more. They jab and then Rios clinches him. Chaves raises his arms and Rios lands five straight rights to the body. They trade jabs and Chaves misses a wild left hook. Hard left jab by Chaves. They clinch again and again. Rios lunges in but walks into a right/left. Rios looks very sluggish right now. Close round that Chaves would have won had it not been for the penalty. 9-9.
Round 6They trade blows in the center of the ring, but Rios’ nasty right uppercut is the best shot. They trade again and Rios digs several shots downstairs. Rios is very active, going to the body and head. They clinch and Rios nails his foe again with a right uppercut. Chaves breaks free and pops Rios with a right and left. They are nose-to-nose and tearing into each other. Rios rubs his head along Chaves’ face, so the Argentinean returns the favor. Drakulich separates them both and issues a stern warning to each man. Hard left hook by Rios. Chaves lands a slick left and right as Rios comes in. Chaves cracks him with a left hook, forcing the American to clinch. Very close round. 10-9 Rios.
Round 7They trade spotty jabs early on. Rios lands a left hook/right to body. Rios goes high with a right and then lands a left/right to the head and body. Chaves returns fire with a left hook clean on the head. They clinch and brawl on the inside. Rios keeps coming in with his head down; he is laced by a right hand. Another. In a phone booth still, Chaves connects with a left hook. Hard left hook to the stomach, followed by a right uppercut to the chin by Rios. They trade blows upstairs but Rios is hammered by a right to the face. They clinch. “Bam Bam” tags him with a right and left. They brawl until the bell, though nothing great lands. Another close round. 10-9 Chaves.
Round 8They trade spotty jabs early on. Rios lands a left hook/right to body. Rios goes high with a right and then lands a left/right to the head and body. Chaves returns fire with a left hook clean on the head. They clinch and brawl on the inside. Rios keeps coming in with his head down; he is laced by a right hand. Another. In a phone booth still, Chaves connects with a left hook. Hard left hook to the stomach, followed by a right uppercut to the chin by Rios. They trade blows upstairs but Rios is hammered by a right to the face. They clinch. “Bam Bam” tags him with a right and left. They brawl until the bell, though nothing great lands. Another close round. 10-9 Chaves.
Round 9Rios charges right at Chaves, who lands a right. Rios clinches. They separate. Hard right to the body by Chaves. They plug away at each other, clinch and then throw each other to the canvas. They both go flying into Chaves’ corner. The crowd is booing lustily. Draklulich lets them up, dusts them off and does nothing. They tear into each other, Chaves clinches Rios around the head similar to a rear naked choke and Chaves lands several punches to the head. When they break, Drakulich waives it off, disqualifying Chaves. Rios immediately points at Chaves and starts talking trash. All the cornermen and teammates jump into the ring, though nothing transpires.
The Official ResultBrandon Rios Def. Diego Chaves Disqualification (Repeated Fouls) 1:26 R9
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